The Xavante live in the state of Mato Grosso, in southwestern Brazil. It is the size of France, Germany, and Great Britain combined. Mato Grosso in Portuguese means "dense forest." Xavante villages used to be found at intervals for the entire length of the Rio das Montes (Montes River). When the land was sold to private companies during the 1960s, the new settlers pushed the Xavante to the vast wasteland of eastern Mato Grosso. The forest has been destroyed. Xavante land is referred to as savanna (grassland), which they prefer because open country offers more exciting hunting prospects. The savanna is not suitable for growing crops because it is very poor country. Still, the Xavante prefer it to the tropical jungle.The present lands of the Xavante are no more than small fragments of the area they once had for their subsistence, to find enough game, especially for ceremonies like weddings, which need large quantities of meat, frequently obliges groups of indian hunters to enter the private ranches, either to hunt or demand that the ranchers give them cattle. This situation often results in serious conflicts.